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You Don’t Matter. Our Image Does


‘And here is the tragedy. Muslims, African-Americans, and other oppressed groups learn that suffering is something they must endure “for the greater good.” So private abuses and traumas are kept quiet so as to not upset or disrupt an already fragile reputation and tenuous image. You don’t cry out when you’re in pain, and you don’t seek outside help when you need it, because this (you’ve come to understand) is itself a crime. And what right do you have, sufferers ask themselves, to commit a “crime” while seeking healing from another?’

—from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah


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When I was struggling to hold on to my Islam, no one knew about it, not even those closest to me. During that time, I was trying to make sense of things that didn’t make sense. I’d learned to keep quiet about my pain and confusion, which was at least in part inspired by the continuous mistreatment I’d faced from Muslims from my childhood community who ostracized and slandered me after I began to practice Islam in a way that differed from the teachings of their favored imam.

The mistreatment was cruel and relentless and knew no bounds. Nothing was off limits, not even my husband and daughter, whom they spoke to directly about the negativity they saw in me (evidenced by my wearing the hijab of “foreign Muslims” and not listening to music). One elder in the community even placed predictions on my husband divorcing me, and he said this to me, my husband, my mother-in-law, and others.

I was called crazy, extreme, and even Shaytaan (the Devil) himself. I received cruel phone calls, some purely for the “fun of it.” One time an elder brother in the community called me and pretended to ask me a question, and when I proceeded to answer, he put the phone down and blasted music into the receiver. I could hear him laughing as I stumbled in speech, trying to figure out what was going on. Then in a taunting voice, he said something like, “How do you like that music, huh?”

An elder sister in the community called under the pretext of asking how I was doing. At the time that she called, I was suffering from depression and was lying in bed feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Because she was someone I’d known and trusted since childhood, I confided in her about some personal struggles I was going through. Then she said, her voice tight in detest, “That’s what you get. The reason you’re suffering is because you’ve decided that you’re right and everyone else is wrong.”

Another called me to ask advice about something she was going through, only to call me back the next day to say it was all a test to prove how “arrogant” I was. “And I was right!” she said. “You were really comfortable giving me advice.”

Once I was even verbally attacked for reciting Qur’an to a sick Muslim. “How dare you,” one sister said who was present. “You think you’re better than everyone else.”

And the list goes on.

I withstood this treatment for over fifteen years before I decided to remove myself from their presence. But it wasn’t easy. It had been drilled in me since childhood that I had a religious obligation to the “wombs that bore me,” which in this context was not limited to only family relations but also to the elders and imams of the community who had nurtured me from young and taught me about Islam. I’d taken this “responsibility” to heart, at least until Allah intervened.

eThe Muslim “Bey Hive”

Recently, I wrote the blog “What Muslims’ Celebration of Beyoncé Says About Our Souls,” in which I mentioned some of the harassment and mistreatment I’d experienced in my childhood community after I began to wear a full khimaar (and ultimately niqaab) and stopped listening to music. I shared this story to draw parallels between the mistreatment I’d experienced from my community to the mistreatment other Muslims are facing for not celebrating Beyoncé due to the visual and verbal indecency that appears in her songs (however fleeting or pervasive the indecency may be, depending on the song or video). Hence my reference to obvious sin or wrongdoing when I said:

“It is chilling how quickly and staunchly we find the good in the most blatant displays of sin and wrongdoing, and how quickly and staunchly we find the evil in the most obvious efforts of living righteously and calling to good.”

In my blog, I stated outright that I am not saying that Muslims should shun Beyoncé. In fact, as I explained to a commenter, I personally have no problem with Muslims appreciating the singer for the good she’s done, as long as we place this appreciation in its proper context with regards to our souls.

My point was that it is not a religious obligation to celebrate Beyoncé or declare her a symbol of empowerment. That is purely a personal choice (which you certainly have right to). But it is a religious obligation to love your Muslim brothers and sisters for the sake of Allah, to make excuses for them, and to support them in their efforts to fear Allah, even when they seek spiritual safety in staying away from your symbol of empowerment. And this requirement of supporting each other is even more pronounced when you know full well that their seeking of spiritual safety is inspired by the presence of obvious sin, however “insignificant” it is to you or however miniscule it is in comparison to the time the singer spent on positive things.

But when we find a way to excuse and overlook obvious indecency (as defined by our Creator) to appreciate a “deeper message” conveyed in an overall context of good (as defined by us) in Beyoncé’s words, yet we refuse to do the same for our Muslim brothers and sisters who are committing no “crime” other than fearing Allah, then this is where we are putting our souls in danger.

If we are truly sincere in our efforts to merely appreciate and celebrate the good in Beyoncé’s message (which is undoubtedly there), then our hearts would automatically allow us to appreciate more the messages of concern from our brothers and sisters who are staying away from these videos and songs for the sake of their souls. Because that’s how a spiritually healthy heart reacts to a fellow believer’s decision to please their Lord.

No, we will not all draw our lines of spiritual safety in the same place, or even in the same way. But it is inconceivable that a believer would show anger or offense toward a Muslim for merely striving to protect themselves from Allah’s displeasure.

“How Could You Portray African-Americans That Way?”

While there were many Muslims who seemed to understand my point, may Allah bless them, there were many others who began criticizing me for “tearing down” a fellow black woman, and some even accused me of unnecessarily portraying African-Americans in a negative light. “We get enough bad press,” I was told.

This criticism gave me pause. Not because I agreed with it, but because it demonstrated precisely what I was addressing in my blog. I explained this point to one of my critics:

“As I said in my post, my blog was NOT about encouraging us to shun Beyoncé. Nor was it about tearing down Beyoncé. It was about how MUSLIMS are raising their level of celebration to a point of disdain for other Muslims who are seeking to fear Allah.

Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with someone appreciating Beyoncé and finding this ‘empowering’ so long as we ALSO place it in its proper context with regards to our souls.

The problem we’re facing is this conversation itself. You found a way to understand Beyoncé, but you didn’t find a way to understand me. You call me out for tearing down a black woman, but you have no problem publicly tearing down a fellow Muslim.


In Beyoncé’s lyrics themselves, she ‘tears down’ black men, according to *your* definition of ‘tearing down’ as she expresses her pain. Yet when I express my pain, you can’t hear my heart like you heard Beyoncé’s.

That’s why I say this is really a spiritual issue we’re facing. Our Muslim brothers and sisters become invisible, yet we SEE everyone else. And we need to rectify that.”

Personally, the criticism that I found most triggering was the claim that I was negatively portraying African-Americans in my post. This criticism was particularly triggering because it reminded me of the message I’d repeatedly received during those more than fifteen years of enduring mistreatment in my childhood community: “You don’t matter. Our image does.”

In other words, they felt the ends justified the means. I was collateral damage in the “higher cause” of protecting the African-American Muslim image. Because I’d decided to practice Islam in a way that they felt betrayed African-American cultural pride, any harm that came my way was justified. I needed to learn my lesson.

And I was hearing this same message in the critics who said that my sharing of my personal pain was an unnecessary negative portrayal of “our people.”

SubhaanAllah, I thought to myself. I pored my heart out regarding the pain I experienced in my life and what I learned from it, for the sole purpose of sharing a beneficial spiritual message. Yet still I am invisible. Still I don’t matter. Still this elusive “image” is more important than the human beings it is supposed to protect.

Truly, this experience has highlighted for me that I don’t have the capacity to grasp on this “image” that Muslims and other minorities are trying to maintain. I only know that I sometimes feel as if this “positive image” doesn’t involve me or other Muslims as we seek emotional or spiritual safety, or even protection of our honor and reputation in this world.

In fact, it is as if we don’t matter at all. We can be harassed, abused, mistreated, and slandered; and so long as we suffer in silence, thereby paying homage to this “image,” then we’ve achieved some great feat as Muslims or oppressed minorities. So if someone hears in public a single peep from us regarding our pain, suffering, or frustration, then we are immediately criticized and attacked for destroying a “positive image.” Thus, our every word is dissected and presented to us in the worst way, as if it were some assault upon Muslims or other oppressed people.

Yet Beyoncé (our symbol of “empowerment” and positivity) can strip naked (or have others do it), shake her butt in our faces, rage against “haters,” tell people to make sajdah to her (i.e. “bow down b*tches”), throw up her middle finger in the faces of audiences, say f** you to those who hurt her, and speak angrily to and about men of all races (for their cheating and heartless ways). But none of this harms the “positive image” of African-Americans we wish to maintain. And none of our enthusiastic public Muslim support and celebration of her harms our positive Muslim “image.”

However, somehow a single believer (i.e. myself) speaking from the heart and saying in the most respectful way, “I hurt” and “Please, let’s protect our souls,” has managed to be a public embarrassment to both Muslims and African-Americans, and a deep tarnish upon the flawless reputation that Beyoncé has miraculously managed to grant both groups.

So I apologize. I admit to my crime of imagining that my pain and my words would matter to you at least as much as Beyoncé’s. And that our souls would matter to you more than either of us.

Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of the If I Should Speak trilogy. Her latest novel His Other Wife is now available. Read HIS OTHER WIFE novel now: CLICK HERE.

To learn more about the author, visit or subscribe to her YouTube channel.

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Daughter of American converts to Islam, Umm Zakiyyah, also known by her birth name Ruby Moore and her "Muslim" name Baiyinah Siddeeq, is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, including novels, short stories, and self-help. Her books are used in high schools and universities in the United States and worldwide, and her work has been translated into multiple languages. Her work has earned praise from writers, professors, and filmmakers. Her novel His Other Wife is now a short film. Umm Zakiyyah has traveled the world training both first-time authors and published writers in story writing. Her clients include journalists, professional athletes, educators, and entertainers. Dr. Robert D. Crane, advisor to former US President Nixon, said of Umm Zakiyyah, “…no amount of training can bring a person without superb, natural talent to captivate the reader as she does and exert a permanent intellectual and emotional impact.” Professor K. Bryant of Howard University said of If I Should Speak, “The novel belongs to…a genre worthy of scholarly study.” Umm Zakiyyah has a BA degree in Elementary Education, an MA in English Language Learning, and Cambridge’s CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults). She has more than fifteen years experience teaching writing in the United States and abroad and has worked as a consultant for Macmillan Education. Umm Zakiyyah studied Arabic, Qur’an, Islamic sciences, ‘aqeedah, and tafseer in America, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia for more than fifteen years. She currently teaches tajweed (rules of reciting Qur’an) and tafseer. In 2020, Umm Zakiyyah started the UZ Heart & Soul Care community in which she shares lessons she learned on her emotional and spiritual healing journey at Follow her online: Website: Instagram: @uzauthor Twitter: @uzauthor YouTube: uzreflections



  1. Hafsa jehan

    May 5, 2016 at 6:17 PM

    Keep on the straight path Ummzakiyyah as Allah has ordered us to stay, May Allah bless you. Ameen.

    • firoj khan

      June 21, 2016 at 8:54 AM

      Sifli Amal for Love The Love problems are increasing time to time in this current instance. The Sifli Amal for Love technique is more effective and very strong

  2. Bahaar

    May 5, 2016 at 9:03 PM

    U keep on keeping in – the loudest voices trying to silence you speak to the symptoms of the disease of our collective hearts – ur words touch me inspire me and they matter – you matter – ur fan from Mississauga!!!

  3. MN

    May 5, 2016 at 11:56 PM

    This is amazing. It’s a shame on us gems like this don’t get the attention they should. Please don’t stop.
    Love from a brother all the way from Asia.

  4. AA

    May 6, 2016 at 12:41 AM

    Barak Allahu Feek.
    May Allah bless you.

  5. HappyMuslimMom

    May 6, 2016 at 11:16 AM

    It is a symptom of a greater illness in our community. In the past, we worked so hard as AA converts to live an authentic Islam that we abandoned our culture and appropriated cultures from “Muslim countries”. Once we realized that this strategy was not effective, we became obsessed with being “black” and “Muslim” and everything became about holding on to our blackness. But at some point, we’ll have to find a balance between the two and realize that we can still love our blackness, our communities, our history, our unique status in greater America, but that doesn’t mean we have to embrace everything connected to blackness, especially if it’s overt sin. We can teach our children to love themselves and also love what Allah loves and to stay away from what He does not love. We can get there, but it will take dialogue, compassion, and everything you spoke about in your above article. Please have patience sister, and continue to remind others of the good and advice them against evil. May Allah reward you for your time and efforts and for having the courage to put yourself out their to a public who clearly does not want to listen or deeply consider your point of view, ameen.

  6. Sister

    May 7, 2016 at 3:06 PM

    What an insightful article. I’m not African American, I’m an Asian revert. but I’m seeing this play out with my friends who are struggling to balance ties between the Muslim community they were born and raised in, and their growing relationship to our larger multicultural community and masjid. May Allah swt bless you sister and make it easy for you and us all, and may He put love and understanding in the hearts of our communities, Ameen

  7. Bint Hassan

    May 7, 2016 at 5:29 PM

    It is nothing but a clear sign to your great status with Allah in sha’Allah. All the prophets and other righteous servants of Allah never had it easy when they strove hard in Allah’s path, enjoining good and forbidding evil. Just like you, thet were shunned, slandered and even prosecuted. It is the Sunnah of Allah on earth. It has happened in all the generations before us and it will happen in the generations to come. Aisha Radhiallhu Anha was also slandered. Subhanallah! people will go to any extreme to hurt someone just because they’re envious of them. No, they’re not hurting you because they disagree with you or because they believe you’re doing wrong. They’re hurting you because you’re righteous and because you dared to stand out,speak the truth and oppose evil. So, glad tidings sister, you’re on the right path. May Allah make it easy for you and make u even firmer on Siratul mustaqeem. From a huge fan all the way from Nigeria!

  8. Peter H

    May 7, 2016 at 9:30 PM

    I am happy for you, that you believe that by abstinence of certain things, demonstrates your desire to be “seeking to fear Allah:”.

    At the same time you lament the “shunning” of by childhood community, and the claims you make of be called arrogant, among other claims.

    However, reading your post with a open mind, I feel there is some merit to their claims of arrogance, that is clear in your allegations.

    I support you position, that you feel that by YOU listening to music, may corrupt your heart, and you wish to avoid that potential corruption, and wish to please Allah.

    It you have a desire to adopt a certain level of personal modesty, then I wish you well, it is your right to do so.

    However, what you believe demonstrates your “seeking to fear Allah”, has an arrogance to it that is self evident.

    You do not claim, that not listening to music is for your personal growth, but you imply it is a higher standard.

    You do not claim your choice of wearing a foreign hijab was for personal reasons, but clearly it was a choice, made by you, to be visibly different to your peers as a statement of you wanting to be better than them in the eyes of Allah.

    If you explained your choices were a statement of self abstinence, not a judgement of others, you may have a point!

    However, clearly you are judging others by your actions, while complaining about others judging you.

    I agree some music may have the potential to corrupt. However, when I listen to Puccini, or Handel, or Chopin, I see no danger of evil, only beauty.

    So your choosing to listen to no music, may be right for you, but how dare you imply that all music has equal ability to corrupt.

    You are imposing on others, what may be the way for YOU to show you are “seeking to fear Allah”, as superior.

    Allah might actually like Jazz, or Pop or Opera, or he may not, but neither I or you know that, you are deciding what pleases Allah, that is arrogant. Lumping all music as corrupt is simplistic in the extreme, and society would be a lesser place if that attitude was the norm. What may be good for you, may not be good for society as a whole.

    I can differentiate good music from bad, and I chose not to listen to what I do not like, just like most people, do.

    Choices you make, that you honestly believe makes you a better person is honourable, but imposing on others, your self imposed prejudices, is arrogant and there is no other word for it.

    Your choice of personal modesty, outside of the norm you live within, is more a reflection of your insecurities than those of your community. The duty to dress modestly, is there to promote respect within a community.

    If you decide to make a visible statement about the norm within your community, you should expect a reaction. If you did not want to get a reaction, then you should respect what is the norm, and be sensitive to that norm. You clearly wanted to make a public statement.

    If you chose not to listen to music as a personal choice, and to dress to a certain level of modesty that is admirable. To draw attention to your choices in a public manner in the way you did, then it was the way you have implemented those choices is the problem, NOT the choices themselves.

    It is arrogant in the extreme, to blame the reaction of your community, on your failure to differentiate between personal choice, and what is for the greater good.

    I am positive you could of implemented, your new level of personal modesty in a more empathetic way. I am sure if you had been tolerant of others choice to listen to music, you would not have offended others as clearly you have done.

    I will give you an example of a friend of mine who decided to stop drinking alcohol. He did not do it for religious reasons, or major health issues, or moral issues. He just decided he didn’t like the effect on him, and wanted to get a bit fitter and healthier.

    At the end of his working week, he enjoyed socializing with friends at the local bar for a few hours before heading home. His friends do not get outrageously drunk, and he enjoyed the social interaction. He made a PERSONAL decision to stop drinking.

    When he decided to give up drinking, he did not walk into the bar with a sign around his neck saying ‘alcohol is evil, and they are all damned to hell’. He did avoid his friends, and live like a hermit. He did not make statements about how bad alcohol to his friends while they were at the bar drinking.

    What he did do, was what is always did at the end of his working week, met up at the local bar to socialize with his friends, and the ONLY difference is he did not drink any beverages that contained alcohol.

    No one made a big deal over it, and after a few months we gradually noticed how well he was looking and he said he felt better for staying off alcohol.

    He chose the best way for himself (having a very strong will, he did not fear being around alcohol) , some people who want to give up alcohol would need to avoid bars or other drinkers, because they would see it as temptation they would find hard to resist. Some people who give up alcohol need to demonize it, as the only way to stop drinking.

    Now no one doubts, whether they be religious or not, that alcohol consumption in general is bad for the human body and society as a whole.

    The same thing goes for modesty is better than immodesty, and music, and the arts in general, has the potential for the promotion of good as well as bad.

    However, your article clearly demonstrates your lack of empathy for others, and arrogance towards others. What you did is not the problem, it’s how you implemented your personal choices.

    You made a decision to make your personal choices for self improvement a public issue, live with it; and stop being so arrogant and insensitive.

    • Umm Zakiyyah

      May 8, 2016 at 11:45 AM

      Peter H,

      Thank you for your honest comment. As I’ve stated on many occasions, I am a human being who is full of faults like everyone else. I have no idea if I handled any situation in the best way or if anything I’ve said or done in my life would make someone feel as if I think I’m better.

      However, more than anything else, arrogance and empathy are heart issues, and it’s really not something that humans can measure with any certainty. Only God can do this. Feeling offended by someone doesn’t mean they’ve wronged us. And me believing that a point of view is right and another wrong doesn’t make me arrogant. Also handling a situation in a way that is unwise does not equal arrogance. It equals humanity.

      Confidence is not arrogance. Conviction in my religion is not arrogance. Being publicly Muslim (i.e. obeying God in how I dress) is not arrogance. And even sharing what I know or believe to be right is not arrogance.

      However, any of these things CAN be a result of arrogance if my heart or intentions are impure while doing it. But you nor anyone else knows my heart. So it’s better not to delve into these claims, unless you can pinpoint a SPECIFIC OBSERVABLE point of disobedience to God that made this arrogance manifest.

      Nevertheless, my post was not about me. My post was about our obligation to be brothers and sisters in faith while heeding reminders about our souls, irrespective of my faults or anyone else’s. I could have all of the faults you mention (and even more), but that does not justify us mistreating each other and ignoring our obligations to the Creator.

    • Umm Zakiyyah

      May 8, 2016 at 12:39 PM

      Peter H,

      I also wanted to add that in Islam, the issue of music is a matter of permissible disagreement. Therefore, I do not view someone’s decision to listen to music as evil, nor do I view all music as corrupt. My own view of music has evolved over time. However, I continue to see the validity in the belief that it is not allowed. But I also see validity in the belief that it IS allowed.

      Personally, I think it’s not a black and white issue that is comparable to prayer and hijab, for example.

      To better understand what I mean, see this blog that I posted on my website, entitled “Is Music Really Haraam (Forbidden)? The Myth of Consensus“:

      • Haleema

        September 8, 2019 at 2:28 PM

        Salaam,I came across your article and appreciate what you are sharing. I am so sorry to hear of the hurtful bullying that you have endured throughout all those years and want you to know that I hear you and am inspired by your spiritual growth. May Allah bless you with peace and tranquility in your endeavours.

    • GregAbdul

      May 8, 2016 at 6:07 PM

      Over and over, ever single teacher of Islam I know, tells me music is haram or makruh. Forgive me for not citing sources but we are all big people and you can look this up without me teaching it. Having said that, I cried over Prince’s death. Having said that, this man died in an elevator alone and rotted for at least 12 hours before someone discovered his corpse. He died without a wife, without a child and without a will. All that money. All that dunya adoration, only to end up as a corpse in an elevator.

      Prince is way way more above Beyonce in terms of success. Islam teaches us that true success lies with Allah. If you are boping your head to Beyonce and not chanting Quran, If you can’t see that the Quran resonating in your mind is far above Beyonce, it is only pity I feel for such a soul. Please do not be offended. I am not angry and I seek not to insult. The Prophet gave us Muslims our own “music.” If you think Beyonce is on the same level or better, one of us is missing something and for me, the imperfect person I am, I find my peace with the Prophet and Allah’s revelation.

    • GregAbdul

      May 8, 2016 at 6:35 PM

      (whew)…(helps me not say the wrong thing)
      Alcohol is haram. If you decide not to drink, just because you feel like it, that is not Islam. In Islam, we see to find rulings, either through source documents or through those who teach us and then we follow those rulings, seeking the pleasure of Allah. If someone does the halaal or the Sunnah, the assumption is that it is to please Allah. Covering the way Muslims scholars have advised for centuries is “showing off”? Because the community is not dressing according to Sunnah of the Prophet’s wives? I am no big fan of niqab. If you are working in public, in the West, then it really seems like a bad idea. But under the right circumstances, there is no harm in it and much benefit, we believe, because it is the Sunnah of the wives of the Prophet (sws). Mr. Peter you are making secular arguments about what people feel like. In America, we are given individual rights under the US Constitution. If a woman wants to wear a headscarf, a veil or not listen to music, these are individual rights and NO…she does not have to go into a closet to make sure the group is not offended. No one has any obligation to go into a closet just to make you feel good about you following the group. Umm’s sin is daring to believe the Constitution protects her right to follow the Sunnah and the Quran. She lost the memo that says Muslims are not free to practice Islam in America. All praise be to Allah!

    • MalikSaabSays

      May 14, 2016 at 8:54 AM

      What I really don’t get is the division of something being a ‘personal’ issue or a ‘societal’ or public or collective issue. That’s like living double standards, one when alone and another when among people; doing something or avoiding something because I think it’s good for me, but not recommending it to others or standing up for it on the pretext that its ‘personal’ (if it’s good then why not share with others?).

      But that’s okay. I get it. This is the non-Muslim approach because there is nothing to guide a non-Muslim except his/her very fluid desires (I like, I want, I feel etc etc).

      The way for one who is Muslim towards His Designer is designed in a specific way; its been made clear for him/her, it’s been made clear for mankind, it’s been made clear for those who ponder, think critically & justly, and use reason. But to say that this or that is my personal choice and Im obligated to keep our to myself…now that’s the behaviour/attitude not of a Muslim (those who call to good, those who call to perseverance, remember?).

      These problems happen when people don’t know, forget, or intentionally disregard such grand truths given by The Lord of lords, King of kings, Judge of judges. Its like passing a judgement onTthe Judge and declaring oneself the judge, i.e. association (shirk?)

      Anyways. To each their own?

      • GregAbdul

        May 14, 2016 at 5:35 PM

        In Islam, there is more than one way to practice Islam. A basic concept in Muslim history is that there have always been “Many Muslim worlds.” Islam as practiced in Saudi Arabia is not the same as Islam as practiced in Africa or New York City. There are four madhabs. The idea that there is only one way to practice Islam or be a Muslim is killing Muslims in places like Syria and Iraq. A hallmark of Islamic tradition is tolerance. Some of us believe Muslims have learned our recently developed intolerance from Western societies. I said already, for the one who actually looks at Islam in its totality for the last 1400 years, we have “allowed difference.”

    • M. Mahmud

      June 10, 2016 at 9:02 PM

      Peter H good Lord, teach me how to rant like you do.

  9. iqrawrites

    May 8, 2016 at 8:11 AM

    Salam Sister Umm Zakiyyah,
    Jazakumullah khairan kaseera for your courage and your sensitivity in writing this. I was appalled to read the way you were treated by others. I can’t imagine how much it must have hurt to experience that first-hand. It’s so painful to see the way Muslims treat each other!
    It’s better for one’s own peace of mind not to read Facebook comments or YouTube comments, because Muslims misbehave there too. It’s sad, however, to see YouTube-comment mentality in response to blogs like yours!
    Lots of prayers for you and your writing,

  10. Simeen

    May 8, 2016 at 12:00 PM

    Subhanallah. What a way you have with words. I have often felt the same way, that highlighting a Muslim issue would make the community more vulnerable. Your article was an eye-opener. Barakallahu feeki

  11. GregAbdul

    May 8, 2016 at 5:50 PM

    Sister I love you for the sake of Allah. This issue has occupied me all weekend. We Muslims mistreat each other. You get double mistreatment being black and Muslim. How we chose to be seen is the issue. Allah knows our hearts, but there are clear instructions in the Sunnah that we live in a way that distinguishes us from those who are not Muslim. It doesn’t mean I reject African American culture. Surely, it means we reject the makruh and the haram in the cultures which bore us. This applies even and especially to Arabs. Assad means lion? And this guy coincidentally consumes people. But because it is a family name, this group holds on to it over the many Muslims names that surround them.
    My wife is African and we have a running joke where we tell each other how we love to bash the tribe we belong to. Zora Neale Hurston said, “my people, my people!” I am a Muslim troll, an amateur writer, but I have studied. Sister when you bear your soul, you are doing what a writer does. You are advancing the Muslim state in the world when you bear your soul and this is often at the heart of great writing. Great writing is truth telling without fear. Amazingly, this is Islam and its demand that we constantly be for truth and justice.
    Today there are many Muslims in various states of secularism, yet they go around and judge Muslims who are less secular. This is no new phenomenon. Malcolm was killed for not following the Islam of his first teachers, so you are in good company. I wear the beard and my wife the hijab. This weekend, by Allah, I was wondering, “am I making too much of a show of my faith?” It is costing me money. But the thing is, those who don’t like me being Muslim don’t suddenly like me if I am clean-shaven. Haters gonna hate. Some of our more cultural and secular brothers and sisters lie to themselves. They get a few pennies more and think it makes them better Muslims.
    The cultural Muslims are our real problem. When you have Muslims slaughtering Muslims in Syria, Yemen and Pakistan, that’s not because of Prophet Muhammad (sws). Their indiscriminate slaughter is because they take culture over faith. No one is perfect, but in Islam, our exercising justice rests on the concept of everyone being given a fair hearing and an allowed difference. My people, my black American brothers and sisters have devolved into chanting “the honorable Elijah Muhammad,” and complaining that immigrants should step to the back because they are foreigners and both of these behaviors are problems, not solutions.
    We have some simple responsibilities as an Ummah. We are supposed to feed the miskeen, not in some far off place, but in our back yards. We are to bring the low people in with us, shelter them from the harsh realites of a life without Allah and pray we are a means of guidance, not through conditional aid, but through a sustained commitment to the low people closest to us, regardless of what they believe.
    Too many of our leaders want to be seen in a good light, yet they shun the very people who get us there. It’s like we never had a Surah called Abasa. Being long (bad writing). Don’t ever shut up sister. You are being heard and smaller voices like me are looking to you for continued inspiration.

    • masood

      May 11, 2016 at 3:44 AM

      i wish i could also write like you people and express myself. i can just endorse what you have said.
      Sister keep it up . Allah has given you special gift that you express so strongly. there are people who perchance understand you and look forward to more from you.
      JazakAllah GregAbdul for putting my thoughts into your words.

    • Umm Zakiyyah

      May 11, 2016 at 8:59 PM

      BarakAllaahufeeka, GregAbdul. May the One for whom you love me love you. We indeed have many internal problems amongst the Muslims, which I believe originate in our hearts. May Allah purify our hearts and guide us back to His religion.

      I appreciate the words of support, truly.

      Please keep me and my writing projects in your du’aa.

      your sister in Islam,
      Umm Zakiyyah

  12. Khalida

    May 9, 2016 at 6:16 AM

    I basically know nothing about why some Muslims support Beyonce and her music, but I do believe prohibition of music has a place in our deen. Regardless of that, it’s not right to go verbally and emotionally abusing others just because of their beliefs (or for any reason, period).
    I’ve told myself this so many times: You know the world is a horrible place when you can’t feel safe from or even trust your own Muslim brothers and sisters.
    Alhamdulilllah, I won’t disagree that there are Muslims, albeit only a few, that don’t fall into that category.

    May Allah create ease for you in all your affairs, increase you in all that is khayr, and grant you the best in both worlds. Ameen.

  13. Shahin

    May 19, 2016 at 9:09 AM

    Jazakallah Khair for writing a very powerful piece! I wish I had learned what you conveyed here long ago…caring about your fellow Muslims as individuals is so much more important than the “image” of Muslims.

  14. Jiya

    January 10, 2017 at 12:13 AM

    Your decision of individual humility, outside of the standard you live inside, is more an impression of your uncertainties than those of your group. The obligation to dress unobtrusively, is there to advance regard inside a group.

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